Cape Town and the Western Cape’s economy is expected to receive a more than R10.3-billion boost over the next five years, which will help create over 10 500 full time and part time jobs.

This was announced yesterday, during Wesgro’s Annual Review for the financial year 2019/20.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wesgro re-imagined delivery on its mandate, and despite the global and local headwinds, managed to not only achieve but often exceed targets.

Results from the various units include:

International Trade:

During the past financial year, Wesgro’s International Trade Promotion Unit facilitated the signing of 37 business agreements with an estimated economic value of R3.08-billion over the next five years, expected to create 973 jobs. Further to this, the unit facilitated outward foreign direct investment projects valued at R428.75m.

Investment Promotion:

Wesgro’s Investment Promotion Unit, meanwhile, realised committed investments worth R2.24-billion, to be landed over the next five years, which translated into 1 485 jobs. A key success for the unit, achieved in collaboration with GreenCape, was assisting Toronto Group to invest in Wellington, injecting an investment flow of R150m and will create more than 100 direct jobs in the region.

Agribusiness Investment:

A key part of Wesgro’s investment promotion effort is the work done by their dedicated Agribusiness Investment Unit, funded by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. This team helped land investments in the agribusiness sector amounting to R557m off the back of 6 investments. These are expected to create 635 jobs over the next five years.

Contributing to this achievement was the Felbridge Pty Ltd investment into cultivation of South African medicinal cannabis where Wesgro assisted with regulatory approval, which resulted in 150 direct jobs and 120 million investment.

Film and Media Promotion:

The Film and Media Promotion Unit, together with the City of Cape Town, worked hard to keep attracting film production in the Cape. The Unit secured R2.189bn in production value, declared in 5 declarations, contributing toward 2 147 full-time equivalent jobs. Two of these declarations into the production of large-scale TV and feature film were valued at a total R1,615bn resulting in 1 810 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

The gaming, interactive and post-production spaces also continued to show good growth realising a total of R139 million and creating 196 FTE off the back of two declarations.

Leisure Tourism:

Emerging from the devastating drought, the unit managed to not only achieve, but exceed targets. Realising R935.6m worth of advertorial value equivalent media coverage, the unit supported 49 leisure events across the Province, that created 4 896 temporary jobs, driving 292 474 visitors to the regions.

Business Tourism:

Similarly, the Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, which is responsible for promoting Cape Town and the Western Cape amongst meetings, incentives conference and event organisers, secured 52 conference bids for the destination. This had a projected economic impact of R1.23bn.

Winning bids for world-class conferences across a variety of topics and sectors, these events not only added significantly to the knowledge-sharing economy of our destination but contributed to Cape Town maintaining its top position in Africa, in the ICCA 2019 ratings.

Cape Town Air Access:

Cape Town Air Access contributed to landing 2 new airlines, 3 new destinations and 3 route expansions. The new airlines and destinations include United Airlines (New York/Newark), Westair (Windhoek via Oranjemund) and Airlink (Saint Helena). The new flights added an additional 44 000 two-way seats to the Cape Town route network, generating an estimated R165m in direct tourism spending and 400 additional jobs in the Province. Cargo capacity has also increased significantly by 54% since the project started.

Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said: “I’d like to congratulate the Wesgro team on their achievements despite a very challenging year. Wesgro play an important role in in our economic recovery plans by attracting direct investment, by growing exports, by marketing destinations, and by boosting air access in the Western Cape.

“Just last month we relaunched, along with our partners, the “Open for Business” investment promotion campaign to attract foreign direct investment and local investment into the Western Cape. This campaign together with our efforts to create an enabling environment for the private sector, and the markets, are some of the ways we are working hard to deliver on the Western Cape Recovery Plan so that together we can bounce back better than before.”

Mayoral Member for Economic Opportunities, Tourism & Asset Management in the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos said: “The City of Cape Town is immensely proud of all that has been achieved within our economy over the last year, notwithstanding the enormous challenges we have been faced with in the face of the most devastating pandemic in history.

“The fact that we’ve been able to continue creating jobs and attract investment into our City is testament to the resilience of our ecosystem and the pivotal role that agencies like Wesgro play within it. That is why the City provides funding for Wesgro. It is collaboration that has got us through the tough times, and through collaboration that we will emerge – restoring our economy and firmly positioning our city as a globally competitive, forward looking business destination,” said

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, concluded: “Our work is cut out for us in this new financial year, but we have good momentum and the right team to deliver on our mandates. I would like to extend a special thank you to all of our partners at all levels of government, and the private sector.”

Picture: Unsplash

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